Education in the Communist Zone of Laos

by Paul Fritz Langer

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Educational accomplishments in Communist Laos differ sharply from village to village, reflecting the country’s uneven social and economic development and the fluctuations of fighting. Under Communist administration, education is designed to convey knowledge as well as practical skills and instill the nationalist ideology of the Pathet Lao. Educational policy stresses competition and teaches the individual the importance of discipline. Pupils are organized into competing groups, each with its leader. Mutual criticism — a characteristic feature of life in the Communist zone of Laos — is encouraged from an early age. The severe lack of educational personnel is partly compensated for by a vigorous but austere adult education program, primarily relying on literate laymen from the village, and by the political leaders’ active participation in the educational process. The discussion, supported by statistical data and providing comparisons with the non-Communist educational effort in Laos, covers the aims, organization, literacy drive, and accomplishments of the present Pathet Lao regime.

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